Union Budget 2014-15 Expectation - Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance
With a new, stable government at the center, we hope for an impetus towards a higher growth trajectory for the health insurance sector and to make health insurance more accessible and affordable for all. The first step that the Government could take immediately would be to increase the tax exemption limit under Section 80D from INR 15,000 to INR 25,000 for individuals and an additional INR 25,000 for parents (INR 30,000 for parents who are senior citizens). This would ensure families have the much needed financial means to keep a check on their current health status.
Secondly, we believe the new government can encourage people by increasing the tax rebate from INR 5,000 available for preventive checkups to a minimum of INR 10,000 and make it additional to the rebate one gets for the health insurance premium paid. Timely diagnosis of ailments would work a long way to prevent people from having a financial burden due to critical illnesses and hospitalisation.
Thirdly, we request that the service tax paid on health insurance is removed for the common man to make it more affordable for all.
Finally, we look forward to the clearance of the long pending 'The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008' this year, which will enable insurance companies to avail of increased foreign direct investment (FDI) from the current ceiling of 26 percent. Opening up the insurance sector for FDI investment will encourage the entry of foreign processes and big data analyses that would benefit Indian insurance companies.